A woman I know, let’s call her Irene, is very interested in her next door neighbor. She suspects that the interests is mutual, but the man has never asked her out yet. “He is just shy,” she thinks, “I will call him myself.”
Nothing wrong with that.
And so she calls him on Saturday afternoon and invites him for a walk. “I can’t go out today,” he says, pleasantly surprised to hear from her. “I am doing laundry on Saturdays. Can we go out on Sunday?” “No,” she says. "Sundays are my time to be alone. Why can’t you do your laundry tomorrow, on Sunday, and go out with me today?” “Because that’s what I had already planned for today,” he says. “And I have already started.” "Some other time then…"
They hang up. But by 8pm Irene’s telephone rings, and it’s her neighbor. He’s done the laundry and is ready to go out! “Let’s do it,” he says, full of enthusiasm. After all he’s done what he had planned, mission accomplished, and he is now excited to see Irene.
But Irene is in her pajamas. She has already eaten at home and is no longer in the mood. “No,” she says. “It is too late for me now.” (Never mind it’s a Saturday night and a glorious evening.) “Well, what about tomorrow?” he asks. Nice try. “But I already told you, tomorrow is Sunday and I like to do nothing on Sunday.” And that was it. They spend the weekend separately. And no one has called the other one since.
“So that worked well, didn’t it?” I ask, as she finishes her story. I am trying not to laugh. “What’s funny?” Irene doesn’t understand. “Was I supposed to just drop my life and adjust it to his?”
What do I tell her? Sometimes our glass is so full there is no room for even one more drop. And that’s the case with Irene. There is nothing I can tell her that she would hear. She is always right.
So here is my question to you: do you see how she has done everything to ensure that she doesn’t get the very thing she claims she wants? A chance to have a relationship with her neighbor? And what would you have done in her place?
And please, don’t write to me what he should have done. This is not about him. If he were telling me his story, complaining how Irene was hard to get, then we would look at his behavior. But right now, let’s talk about Irene.
It is a very simple example, a little scene with no big dramas or shakes, no one was too terribly hurt, no huge expectations dashed, just a potential that did not even get explored. One of endless potentials that Irene has managed to successfully kill over the years. A short interaction that could have gone somewhere and instead went nowhere. An every day occurrence.
I will leave you with this thought.
Being flexible is a wonderful thing. Not insisting on having your way and on being right about it is a liberating experience. It opens the door to amazing possibilities that otherwise would not be there.
There are times and situation where your response is a matter of your principles.
There also are other times when it clearly is not.
All for now:).